CUPBEARER A high ranking official in the courts of Ancient Near Eastern kings. The cupbearer was responsible for serving wine at the king's table and protecting the king from poisoning. The cupbearer was often taken into the king's confidence and had no small amount of influence on the king's decisions. The “chief butler” of the Joseph story (Genesis 40:2) was a cupbearer who was overseer of a staff of his own. Nehemiah was the highly esteemed cupbearer for Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1:11; see also 1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 9:4). The Rabshakeh may have been the title given to cupbearers in the Assyrian court (2 Kings 18:17-37; Isaiah 36:2).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.